With winter storms on the horizon and increasingly unpredictable weather, many people are turning to generators to ensure comfort and safety for their family. If you’ve decided to take action, you may have a lot of questions. Looking for a residential standby generator? Which is better, gas or diesel?

For many families, a reliable source of power is more than a luxury — for some, it’s a matter of life and death. While last winter was relatively mild, several weather agencies are predicting colder than normal temperatures this year. So, it pays to do your due diligence before purchasing.

Reasons to Buy a Generator

A few hours without electricity can be fun if you bring out lanterns and board games. However, after a day or two, it can seriously impact your health and your home.

When temperatures drop below freezing or climb above 90°F, it can be dangerous for vulnerable family members, like young infants and the elderly.

An extended power outage can have negative consequences. When your fridge and freezer no longer work, you can lose hundreds of dollars’ worth of food. Your heat and air will no longer work, and freezing temperatures can impact your electronics and media storage. Frozen pipes can mean thousands of dollars in property damage.

Standby vs. Backup Generators

If you’re not sure what kind of generator is best for you, you’ll first need to determine how you plan to use it. Do you need a standby generator or a backup generator?

Many think they’re the same thing, but a standby generator is a permanently installed generator that automatically kicks on whenever you lose electrical power.

Backup generators are normally small and portable, and most run on gasoline or diesel fuel. They’re easily engaged to provide a limited amount of electrical power for a day or less during emergency situations.

A standby generator, however, can power your entire home during an outage.

Gas Generators

Gas-powered generators are most often used as “whole house” generators or standby generators. They run on natural gas or liquid propane lines, just like your gas stove or water heater.

However, gas generators can only be used in homes where there is a utility supply line in place.

Some benefits of gas generators:

  1. Lower fuel costs

  2. No need to store fuel

  3. No delivery issues

  4. Cleaner burning

  5. More options for installation location

Some downsides of gas generators:

  1. Require more maintenance than diesel generators

  2. Require a natural gas or LP line

  3. Possibility of losing pressure in the line

  4. Gas leaks are more likely to cause fires than diesel generators

Diesel Generators

Diesel generators burn diesel fuel to create electricity. Unlike gas, the fuel necessary to run the generator is stored on-site, rather than piped in.

Advantages of diesel generators:

  1. Doesn’t require a gas line

  2. Longer lifespan than a gas standby generator

  3. Diesel fuel is less flammable than gas

  4. Lower maintenance needs than gas generators

Disadvantages of diesel generators:

  1. Requires fuel delivery

  2. Possibility of running out of fuel

  3. More expensive than gas generators

  4. May be too noisy for residential use

  5. Creates more pollution than gas generators

Factors to Consider

You’ll need to determine a few things before you choose between a gas or diesel generator.

Frequency of use

How often do you find yourself without power? In some parts of the country, winter storms regularly knock out the grid. In others, summer storms are the main culprits.

Locating your generator

Your standby generator will need dedicated space outdoors, and many homeowners have them positioned by their outdoor condensing units.

One of the advantages of natural gas generators is that they take up less space since they don’t require a fuel tank.

Access to fuel

Do you have access to natural gas or liquid propane lines? If not, the decision may be made for you.

Choosing wisely

One factor that you’ll need to know before purchasing a standby generator is the wattage. Do you know how to choose the right wattage? It will all depend on how many of your appliances and what home systems you feel you need to power.

Determine which appliances and devices you’ll want to run if you have an extended outage. Use a handy online calculator to help you determine the right size for your needs.

The Good News

Whichever you choose, you’ll be happy to know that both gas and diesel generators have a great record of reliability in New Jersey.

If you want to make sure your family and your home remain safe and secure during a power outage, make an appointment today with the team at Mr. Sparky in Pleasantville. Our trained and licensed technicians will help you choose the best type for your requirements.